Uproar in Haryana Assembly, Congress MLAs demand Sandeep’s removal, stage walkout

Chandigarh: Amid sloganeering, an aggressive Congress today staged a walkout demanding the resignation of state minister Sandeep Singh in a sexual harassment case, while Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar insisted that the minister would not be asked to resign.

The matter was raised by Congress MLA Geeta Bhukkal soon after the tribute reference on the first day of the budget session. Sandeep Singh did not attend the proceedings.

Describing himself as a people’s representative, Bhukkal sought the minister’s resignation, which was rejected by Speaker Gyan Chand Gupta. “The matter is being investigated by an SIT. Let the reports come,” he said.

Leader of the Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda sought to know why the BJP state president prevented Sandeep from attending party meetings if the allegations were not yet proved. “Either the minister should step down or he should be sacked,” he insisted. Reacting to this, the CM thumped his desk and said that his resignation would not be sought, prompting Congress MLAs to raise anti-government slogans. As the persistent opposition continued to raise the issue, the Speaker continued with the rest of the proceedings, reading out the recommendations of the Business Advisory Committee, which were passed by the House amid uproar.

The Speaker told dissident Congress MLAs that the CM had “shown a big heart” by withdrawing the sports portfolio from the minister to ensure a fair probe. Hooda said that if the government wanted a fair probe, the matter should be handed over to the CBI.